Turkey Syria offensive: Russia deploys troops to border

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AFP

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Russia has steadily built up its military presence in Syria

Russian forces have begun to deploy towards the Turkey-Syria border, as part of deal to remove Kurdish troops.

Units were seen crossing the Euphrates heading towards the city of Kobane.

Under the deal agreed by Russia and Turkey, Russian and Syrian forces will remove Kurdish fighters from a large stretch of the border.

Turkish troops will continue to control an area they took during a recent offensive against the Kurdish fighters, whom Turkey regards as terrorists.

Part of Turkey’s plan is also to create a “safe zone” along the border that will house some two million of the Syrian refugees it hosts.

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The Turkish offensive began after the US announced a sudden and unexpected withdrawal of its troops from northern Syria. The US troops had been supporting the Kurdish fighters, who have been allies in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in the region.

What’s the latest on the ground?

Russian forces crossed the Euphrates at noon (09:00 GMT) and “advanced towards the Syrian-Turkish border”,

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